I said the words "historical disaster" -- and my kitchen erupted into a frenzy of baking soda and vinegar, clay and cardboard.
Our homeschool group is hosting a Historical Disaster Fair on some yet-to-be-determined date. (Cool idea, eh? I got it here.) Today, I figured, was as good a day as any to tell the boys.
Somewhat surprisingly, they were ALL excited. (I think the word "disaster" had something to do with it.) Within minutes, they had selected their topics: a volcanic eruption for Boy #2 (think Pompeii), an asteroid impact for Boy #3 and either Hiroshima or Gettysburg for Boy #1.
Pleased with our little conversation, I headed to the basement to start a load of laundry. I returned a few minutes later to find a cookie sheet covered in vinegar and cardboard boxes in various states of deconstruction.
The boys were in the zone. Boy #3 sketched his plans for an asteroid impact model while Boy #2 experimented with different "volcanoes." (He ultimately settled on a water bottle, lid off.) Boy #4 watched with glee while Boy #2 tested various concentrations of baking soda and vinegar. #3 sliced shapes out of extra cardboard boxes and colored them, just right -- 2 shades of blue for the ocean and a blank, deforested area on planet Earth. Boys #1 and 2 cleaned out an old fish tank/new home for a volcano. #2 microwaved modeling clay to soften it, then crafted a volcano-shaped shell around his water bottle. He also made a building out of a small cardboard box.
My kitchen was a mess, but the energy in that room was inspiring! This was not learning for learning's sake; this was creation. These were boys who were applying knowledge, boys who were free to pursue a project in whatever way felt best for them. There were no rules -- "each project must contain a timeline" or "all reports must be double-spaced" -- to interfere with their visions. No bells sounded, artificially ending the energy. The boys worked and worked and worked -- because they wanted to, not because someone told them they must.